Rob Dickens Year Of The Dog Review

Rob Dickens is a Melbourne based roots music blogger and supporter. His site is, and below is what he had to say about the new album Year Of The Dog.

Phil Smith hails from Brisbane Australia and is a very impressive singer and storyteller.  He is about to head out on the road for a significant tour around Australia for his new album Year Of The Dog.

The new album has seeped into my brain, slowly and steadily.  It’s a release without an emotional filter and it is stripped bare on every level.

The album for me has a deep and resonating serenity.  It is stark and profound.  The opening track “Calling Home” is a perfect blend of melody, rich voice and Dave Rawlins or Milk Carton Kids guitar picking style.  “Broken Rivers” strives for truth and freedom in another delightfully restrained piece, this time with banjo.  “Homeward Bound” is world-weary and shows a mature hand, while “Avenue Girl” is reminiscent of Nick Drake with its acoustic strumming and piano combo.  “Nightwinds” again has Smith’s voice way out front in the mix with subdued guitar and other augmented sounds pushed back for effect – backing vocals and pedal steel.

“Memories” details a drug overdose and “The Train” recounts an emotion-laden funeral day.  I am particularly fond of a number of songs/tunes called “El Corazon” and I can add Smith’s song to my list – it is beautiful and sublime from start to finish.

From all reports, 2013 was a long, hard year for Phil Smith but it has provided plenty of excellent material for Year Of The Dog, which is a brutally honest musical journal.  It’s not all doom and gloom though – there’s hope and light here as well.

Year Of The Dog is an intense and captivating release.  I look forward to his tour and seeing Phil Smith live and personal.